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No. 4 Penn State hangs onto 20-13 lead over No. 3 Iowa with Roberson at QB: live blog, updates, analysis and more from Kinnick Stadium

PennLive.com logo PennLive.com 10/9/2021 Daniel Gallen, pennlive.com
Former NFL star and Penn State great LaVar Arrington greets linebacker Brandon Smith at Kinnick Stadium before the Iowa game on Oct. 9, 2021. Joe Hermitt | jhermitt@pennlive.com © JOE HERMITT Former NFL star and Penn State great LaVar Arrington greets linebacker Brandon Smith at Kinnick Stadium before the Iowa game on Oct. 9, 2021. Joe Hermitt | jhermitt@pennlive.com

IOWA CITY, Iowa — Penn State once again is in the national spotlight as it faces Iowa on Saturday afternoon at Kinnick Stadium.

The No. 4 Nittany Lions and the No. 3 Hawkeyes are both 5-0 after impressive starts to the season. Iowa has done it with one of the nation’s best and most opportunistic defenses. Penn State has combined a stingy defense with a solid offense behind a resurgent Sean Clifford during its first five games.

The 69,250-seat Kinnick Stadium is sold out for Saturday’s game, and there appears to be a decent smattering of blue and white among the black and gold of the Hawkeyes fans as the stadium starts to fill in.

It’s a humid, overcast day in Iowa City with some breezy winds and temperatures in the low 80s.

Penn State quarterback Sean Clifford warms up before the Iowa game on Oct. 9, 2021. Joe Hermitt | jhermitt@pennlive.com © JOE HERMITT Penn State quarterback Sean Clifford warms up before the Iowa game on Oct. 9, 2021. Joe Hermitt | jhermitt@pennlive.com

PennLive will bring you updates throughout the game below from PennLive reporters Daniel Gallen and Dustin Hockensmith. Be sure to follow Daniel on Twitter at @danieljtgallen for complete updates and analysis, and also follow the rest of PennLive’s Penn State team: Dave Jones, Bob Flounders and Joe Hermitt.

Fourth quarter, 8:08 | Penn State 20, Iowa 16

Penn State gave up field position as Jordan Stout punted from his own end zone to set up Iowa with possession at the 50. The Lions were gashed for 42 yards on a catch-and-run by wide receiver Keagan Johnson, but they stood their ground with a big stand inside their own 10. Caleb Shudak connected again from 36 yards to cut the Penn State lead to 20-16 with 8:08 remaining.

Penn State head coach James Franklin and Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz meet before the game on Oct. 9, 2021. Joe Hermitt | jhermitt@pennlive.com © JOE HERMITT Penn State head coach James Franklin and Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz meet before the game on Oct. 9, 2021. Joe Hermitt | jhermitt@pennlive.com

End 3rd quarter | Penn State 20, Iowa 13

Penn State dialed up a new-look offense at the half with Sean Clifford dressed in street clothes on the sideline. Backup Ta’Quan Roberson did a little damage with his legs, and the Lions marched 42 yards on 11 plays to set up a Jordan Stout 44-yard field goal to stretch the PSU lead to 20-10.

Iowa chugged down the field 45 yards on 10 plays and pulled to within 20-13 on a 48-yarder by kicker Caleb Shudak. The two sides went punch-for-punch right out of halftime.

Halftime | Penn State 17, Iowa 10

After all of that, Penn State somehow leads Iowa at halftime at Kinnick Stadium. Quarterback Sean Clifford threw two interceptions before heading to the locker room in the second quarter, and the Nittany Lions were dealt a run of injuries of varying severity at key spots.

But Clifford did enough when he was on the field and the Penn State has continued to play well against a tough Iowa team. The Hawkeyes had the Nittany Lions back on their heels at the end of the second quarter, but Penn State will have the chance to regroup at the break.

Before he exited, Clifford was 15 of 25 for 146 yards and an interception, but he added three rushes for 36 yards and a touchdown on the ground. Redshirt sophomore Ta’Quan Roberson, playing the first meaningful snaps of his career, was shaky in three drives of relief.

Penn State defensive tackle PJ Mustipher is helped off the field at halftime after sustaining an injury in the first quarter on Oct. 9, 2021. Joe Hermitt | jhermitt@pennlive.com © JOE HERMITT Penn State defensive tackle PJ Mustipher is helped off the field at halftime after sustaining an injury in the first quarter on Oct. 9, 2021. Joe Hermitt | jhermitt@pennlive.com

Wide receiver Jahan Dotson had six catches for 43 yards, while wide receiver KeAndre Lambert-Smith had four catches for 56 yards, though he left the game with an apparent injury at one point.

Defensively, linebacker Ellis Brooks, who has a cast on his right hand, leads Penn State with six tackles (four solo), while linebacker Curtis Jacobs has four tackles, two tackles for loss and a quarterback hit. Defensive end Arnold Ebiketie has four tackles and 2.5 tackles for loss.

Overall, the Penn State defense is holding the Iowa offense to 3.4 yards per play.

Second quarter, 7:08 | Penn State 17, Iowa 10

Iowa worked its way back into the game with a 9-yard pass from Spencer Petras to wide receiver Charlie Jones at the pylon.

Second quarter, 12:31 | Penn State 17, Iowa 3

Penn State running back Noah Cain dives in for a touchdown during the first quarter on Oct. 9, 2021. Joe Hermitt | jhermitt@pennlive.com © JOE HERMITT Penn State running back Noah Cain dives in for a touchdown during the first quarter on Oct. 9, 2021. Joe Hermitt | jhermitt@pennlive.com

Penn State extended its lead to 17-3 with a 32-yard field goal by Jordan Stout. The drive was 14 plays, 66 yards and took a bit more than three minutes off the clock. The big play was a 22-yard scramble by Sean Clifford on third-and-7.

First quarter, 3:21 | Penn State 14, Iowa 3

Sean Clifford has thrown two interceptions, but Penn State leads Iowa by two scores. That’s not really how anyone drew it up. Clifford threw his second pick of the game when he tried to hit Jahan Dotson on a deep ball but Iowa’s Jack Koerner hauled it in. The Hawkeyes, though, gave it right back when Spencer Petras threw a pass off wide receiver Nico Ragaini’s hands that Jaquan Brisker hauled in.

Penn State quarterback Sean Clifford dives into the end zone for a touchdown during the first quarter on Oct. 9, 2021. Joe Hermitt | jhermitt@pennlive.com © JOE HERMITT Penn State quarterback Sean Clifford dives into the end zone for a touchdown during the first quarter on Oct. 9, 2021. Joe Hermitt | jhermitt@pennlive.com

Four plays later, Clifford ran it four yards up the middle for a touchdown to make it 14-3. The big play to set up that touchdown was a 30-yard pass from Clifford to KeAndre Lambert-Smith.

First quarter, 8:37 | Penn State 7, Iowa 3

Penn State answered Iowa’s field goal nicely with a nine-play, 75-yard drive that took only 2:31, and running back Noah Cain capped the drive with a 2-yard touchdown run. Quarterback Sean Clifford had completions of at least 15 yards to KeAndre Lambert-Smith, Parker Washington and Brenton Strange, and the Nittany Lions got help from a defensive pass interference penalty to set up Cain’s touchdown run.

Penn State quarterback Sean Clifford hobbles off the field during the second quarter on Oct. 9, 2021. Joe Hermitt | jhermitt@pennlive.com © JOE HERMITT Penn State quarterback Sean Clifford hobbles off the field during the second quarter on Oct. 9, 2021. Joe Hermitt | jhermitt@pennlive.com

First quarter, 11:08 | Iowa 3, Penn State 0

The game started about as poorly as it could for Penn State. Nittany Lions defensive tackle PJ Mustipher went down with an apparent left knee injury that didn’t look good on the fifth play of the game, and while Iowa was forced to punt, the Hawkeyes pinned the ball at the 2.

Penn State offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich follows quarterback Sean Clifford into the medical tent after Clifford sustained an injury during the second quarter on Oct. 9, 2021. Joe Hermitt | jhermitt@pennlive.com © JOE HERMITT Penn State offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich follows quarterback Sean Clifford into the medical tent after Clifford sustained an injury during the second quarter on Oct. 9, 2021. Joe Hermitt | jhermitt@pennlive.com

On Penn State’s first play, quarterback Sean Clifford threw his fourth interception of the game. He was running left, got tripped up in the end zone by linebacker Seth Benson and tried to force the ball to Jahan Dotson on the left sideline, but linebacker Jestin Jacobs was waiting at the 8.

Defensive end Arnold Ebiketie sacked Spencer Petras on third-and-goal to force the Hawkeyes to settle for a 34-yard field goal by Caleb Shudak to make it 3-0.

Pregame | Penn State 0, Iowa 0

Penn State has won its past three matchups at Kinnick Stadium, including the past two under coach James Franklin. Those were tight games, with Trace McSorley, Juwan Johnson and Saquon Barkley delivering the Nittany Lions a 21-19 win in 2017 and Noah Cain helping to hold off the Hawkeyes in a 17-12 victory in 2019.

Former NFL star Joey Porter takes with Reggie Bush and Brady Quinn of FOX Sports at Kinnick Stadium before the Iowa game on Oct. 9, 2021. Joe Hermitt | jhermitt@pennlive.com © JOE HERMITT Former NFL star Joey Porter takes with Reggie Bush and Brady Quinn of FOX Sports at Kinnick Stadium before the Iowa game on Oct. 9, 2021. Joe Hermitt | jhermitt@pennlive.com

Last season, Iowa throttled Penn State, 41-21, at Beaver Stadium. But the Nittany Lions haven’t lost since then, with a nine-game winning streak dating back to 2020 on the line Saturday. For their part, the Hawkeyes are on an 11-game winning streak.

Former NFL star Joey Porter greets Penn State great LaVar Arrington at Kinnick Stadium before the Iowa game on Oct. 9, 2021. Joe Hermitt | jhermitt@pennlive.com © JOE HERMITT Former NFL star Joey Porter greets Penn State great LaVar Arrington at Kinnick Stadium before the Iowa game on Oct. 9, 2021. Joe Hermitt | jhermitt@pennlive.com

Something will have to give Saturday.

Penn State linebacker Ellis Brooks looks out at Kinnick Stadium before the Iowa game on Oct. 9, 2021. Joe Hermitt | jhermitt@pennlive.com © JOE HERMITT Penn State linebacker Ellis Brooks looks out at Kinnick Stadium before the Iowa game on Oct. 9, 2021. Joe Hermitt | jhermitt@pennlive.com

Pregame reading:

Penn State defensive end Arnold Ebiketie, left, running backs coach Ja'Juan Seider and linebacker Kobe King arrive at Kinnick Stadium for the Iowa game on Oct. 9, 2021. Joe Hermitt | jhermitt@pennlive.com © JOE HERMITT Penn State defensive end Arnold Ebiketie, left, running backs coach Ja'Juan Seider and linebacker Kobe King arrive at Kinnick Stadium for the Iowa game on Oct. 9, 2021. Joe Hermitt | jhermitt@pennlive.com Former NFL star Joey Porter greets Penn State great LaVar Arrington at Kinnick Stadium before the Iowa game on Oct. 9, 2021. Joe Hermitt | jhermitt@pennlive.com © JOE HERMITT Former NFL star Joey Porter greets Penn State great LaVar Arrington at Kinnick Stadium before the Iowa game on Oct. 9, 2021. Joe Hermitt | jhermitt@pennlive.com

Follow along with updates from Iowa City all game right here.

Daniel Gallen covers Penn State for PennLive. He can be reached at dgallen@pennlive.com. You can follow him on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Follow PennLive’s Penn State coverage on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.

Penn State head coach James Franklin and Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz meet before the game on Oct. 9, 2021. Joe Hermitt | jhermitt@pennlive.com © JOE HERMITT Penn State head coach James Franklin and Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz meet before the game on Oct. 9, 2021. Joe Hermitt | jhermitt@pennlive.com Penn State offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich yells instructions before the Iowa game on Oct. 9, 2021. Joe Hermitt | jhermitt@pennlive.com © JOE HERMITT Penn State offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich yells instructions before the Iowa game on Oct. 9, 2021. Joe Hermitt | jhermitt@pennlive.com
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